Michael Caine used to drink vodka at breakfast, didn’t consider it a problem (update)

One of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever heard was with Michael Caine on Fresh Air in 2010. He said that after his mother died he learned that he had an older disabled half brother in an asylum whom his mother had kept hidden for over 50 years. She would take a bus to visit him once a week, and never told anyone where she was going. After she died a reporter who did a story about the home contacted Michael to tell him about his brother. Michael was able to care for him for two years until he passed. (That’s one of the stories I tell people when they ask for an interesting celebrity story as it could easily be one of those sad British movies with a happy ending.)

Back when I reported that story, Michael had just put out a memoir, The Elephant to Hollywood. Michael, now 85(!), is promoting a new memoir which came out last week called Blowing The Bloody Doors Off. One of the stories he tells in the book is about his alcoholism and the fact that he was drinking two “small” bottles of vodka a day. I presume he’s talking about a half pint or a pint bottle and not a travel/mini bottle. It’s unclear though. He writes that he would drink a small bottle at breakfast and didn’t realize it was a problem until he met his current wife and she pointed it out. Michael has been married to his second wife, Shakira Baksh, 71, since 1973. So he was around 40 when he was drinking like that.

The Alfie star says he found himself at a low point in his life around the age of 40 when he began heavily drinking. “I was never bombed on set, but I thought that a small vodka for breakfast was nothing to worry about, and in the early 1970s I was drinking two bottles of the stuff a day,” he writes.

Luckily, it was around this same time that he met his wife, model Shakira, and says she helped him turn things around.

“By an immense stroke of good fortune, Shakira arrived in my life just in time. The empty feeling vanished and she got on my case. Then, to top it all, she got pregnant and I was given a second go at fatherhood, and soon I got myself straightened out. I gave up alcohol entirely for a year and now I never drink during the day, and with dinner it’s just wine,” he writes. “Shakira literally saved my life.”

The actor is the father to two daughters Natasha and Dominique (with his first wife actress Patricia Haines) and now has three grandchildren.

In his book, he writes that he had considered retiring but an unexpected knock at his front door changed all that. Director Christopher Nolan came to his house one Sunday morning and asked him to take on the role of butler Alfred opposite Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight.

“There I was, at the age of seventy-one, cast in one of the greatest trilogies ever made and about to kick off ten years of movie-making heaven,” he writes.

Today, the actor is extremely grateful for the good fortune he has had on and off screen.

“I have also been extraordinary lucky in my personal life,” writes Caine. “Meeting my wife Shakira and having the most wonderful life with her for forty-seven years.”

[From People]

You don’t hear much from Michael Caine but he seems like such a stand up guy. The last time we reported on him was earlier this year when he called himself a feminist and vowed not to work with Woody Allen again. Plus he gushes about his wife and he’s been with her for 47 years! I’m a fan.

Update: OK I’m sorry for not doing my research for this story. I messed this one up.




Photos credit: WENN.com

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30 Responses to “Michael Caine used to drink vodka at breakfast, didn’t consider it a problem (update)”

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  1. Jadedone says:

    I want to age like her

    • HK9 says:

      I know!!!

    • Kitten says:

      She is STUNNING. She was beautiful at 26 when he met her and she’s gorgeous now at 71. Lucky woman!

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      I was just thinking how ravishing she must have been as a younger woman, because she is really beautiful now.

    • TooMany says:

      She looks amazing. It’s also lovely that we have an example of an elderly white, successful man who isn’t secretly terrible. Plenty of much younger men could learn a lot from him.

  2. Nikki says:

    Okay…she’s 71?!? That is AMAZING! I’m Indian, and I want to say she looks Indian (esp with her name), but i’m not sure. Either way…she looks beautiful, and it’s really nice to see a Hollywood couple last this long. They seem like great people!

    • Lightpurple says:

      Her parents were Indian and she was born in Huyana. She met Caine when they worked on The Man Who Would Be King. (One of my mom’s favorite movies) I have always considered her one of the great beauties.

      • Harryg says:

        He saw her in a coffee ad and tracked her down, if I remember right.

      • Lilly says:

        What @Harryg said is what I remember from an old interview too. He and Terrence Stamp (I think) were roommates, living pretty hard and he saw her in a coffee commercial.

    • Kitten says:

      She’s of Indo-Guyanese heritage.
      Looking at old photos of them and they seem like a typical Hollywood couple…younger woman, out of his league..standard stuff.

  3. LadyAnne says:

    Yeah, not a fan of a very rich brexiteer who’d “rather be a poor master of his own fate”, considering Brexit will never hurt people like him. Campaigning to leave the EU has pretty much cancelled him for me.


  4. Polly says:

    He’s a hardcore Brexiter who doesn’t care what the economic consequences will be because he’d “rather be a poor master than a rich servant.” This is coming from a multi millionaire who left the UK decades ago so he could pay less tax.

  5. Jb says:

    WOW, his wife is beautiful and I honest to God thought she was in her 50s!! May I be blessed to look half that good when in my 70s! My husband is pale and I’m a tan as hell so wistfully thinking/hoping we look like them when godwilling we reach their ages. Also I really want to know more about the brother, the asylum and how she was able to hide that for 50yrs!!!! I’m glad he got to care for him in his final years, hoping the brother had lived a relatively nice life and was at peace.

  6. girl_ninja says:

    I have a deadline so I’ve been drinking Sprite in the morning for the last two days😬

  7. Incredulous says:

    He was probably drinking a naggin, 200ml bottle that fits in a pocket.

  8. StallinOnMyWork says:

    And nor was it a problem, until it was. That’s the tricky part of alcohol. We use arbitrary rules to dictate when consumption is okay, and when we realize those rules are all that stands between us and being lusciously inebriated at all times, we very quickly became so. I spent years drinking as heavily as he did, but fortunately stopped drinking vodka six months ago. I won’t ever touch that stuff again. Lesson learned: You aren’t an alcoholic just for drinking in the mornings, but usually only alcoholics do. :/

  9. Brian B says:

    My Cocaine.

  10. Uppenyrcraut says:

    I am pretty sick of Americans talking about Brexit. Get back to me when you have to ask permission of the whole of South America and Canada to do anything and then pay them for the privilege. The man has a point and he is allowed to make it.

    • Polly says:

      Of course he’s entitled to his opinion, the point is no matter how bad Brexit turns out to be (and right now it’s not looking good) it won’t affect him in the slightest. He says he wouldn’t mind being poorer whilst knowing there is zero chance of that ever happening to him. I’m not ok with being poorer just so that people like you and him can live out the delusion of Britain’s long-lost greatness.

  11. fabulousfunster says:

    He is an old man who would have been born and educated (ie indoctrinated) when Britain still had the Empire. A lot of the older Brexit voters were harping back to the ‘glory days’ when Britain ruled the world. The younger ones? My daughter and I cried when the results were in. As for telling black actors to wait – he said he wouldn’t vote based solely on colour. As for waiting I read it as put in a few solid performances and it will come. Very few actors get an Oscar on their first great performance (and often not even for the movie they deserve it for)…